- Ben Q. Rock of Orlando Pinstriped Post: “Overall, [Dwight] Howard ranked in the 85th percentile of offensive players in 2008/09, compared to the 90th percentile this season. There is no way to argue that he got worse. None. I guess the commercials he filmed didn’t actually affect his game then, right? But plenty of people, it seems, expect more from Howard. They want him to be a back-to-the-basket nightmare with a zillion and one moves, capable of scoring 25 points a night while still locking down the defensive end. They aren’t crazy. Given his age, it’s reasonable that he’ll one day get there. Where I think they’re off is in their belief that he can only become a truly elite if he does that. As it stands, Howard is the best player at his position and, at worst, the 5th-best player in the league. He could make no improvement whatsoever for the next several seasons, maintain that standing, and still be elite.”
- Marcin Gortat gets a C+ for the season.
- Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel evaluates J.J. Redick, Jason Williams, and Jameer Nelson.
- Eric Freeman of The Baseline chimes in on Dwight Howard seeking out Hakeem Olajuwon during the off-season: “Hakeem is actually one of the better players Howard could turn to for advice. As a youngster, Olajuwon relied more on athleticism than skill, in a manner relatively similar to Dwight. Howard is still only 24, but Olajuwon can still help him transition from athletic dynamo to a more refined player. Patrick Ewing has helped Howard’s offensive game considerably, but it too often seems as if Ewing is trying to turn Dwight into a veteran big man rather than a dynamic athletic talent who also happens to have a couple excellent post moves. Olajuwon could understand Howard better. The main question is whether or not he can have much of an impact in only a few sessions.”
- Spiffy ‘at rim defenses’ data charts, courtesy of Tom Haberstroh of Hardwood Paroxysm.
- Jordan Schultz of NBA FanHouse … without comment: “[...] what about Jameer Nelson? More specifically, what was Van Gundy doing playing him such a heavy dosage of minutes? After he torched an incumbent Raymond Felton and glacial Mike Bibby in the earlier rounds, Nelson was everyone’s darling entering the conference finals. Rajon Rondo, however, quickly changed this sentiment. In beating him in every way possible, Rondo has made Nelson look like the aging point guard Bibby appeared to be in the Eastern Conference semis. Nelson has never been a burner. He’s a pace-setter, a strong-willed floor general who can score and moderately facilitate, but can also be scored upon. In this series, he looked tired, sluggish and outclassed. Nevermind the poor shooting numbers and sub-par scoring … “guarding” Rondo he was absolutely gobbled up, costing Howard to pick up bail-out fouls and forcing Orlando into the hands of the Celtics. Once again, the player deserves criticism, but the real responsibility falls on the coach.”
- Nelson’s True Shooting Percentage was .559 percent in the 2010 NBA Eastern Conference Finals. Rajon Rondo? .465 percent … that stat alone refutes Schultz’s assertion that Nelson was outclassed. I rarely, if ever, criticize another writer because who am I to say who is good or bad? But Schultz’s article today was poorly written. End of story.
- Neil Paine of Basketball-Reference looks at how team balance affects the outcome of a Finals series.
- Daniel Marks of Dime Magazine states that Jason Williams is one of 10 free agents that nobody is talking about: “After his one year retirement, Williams has returned to the NBA with the Magic and proven to be a very solid backup point guard for them. Williams shot 38 percent from three this year, and averaged 6.0 points and 3.5 assists in 20 minutes, proving he definitely can be a good backup point guard for the next few years. Plus, he can add much needed depth for a team looking for some.”